December 4, 2023

The World's Local Health

Keeping Safe While Buying Medicines Online

3 min read
Buying Medicines Online

Buying prescription medication today is more comfortable and faster. Before you have to go to a pharmacy you may have to travel further at times if availability becomes an issue. Today, you visit an online chemist and order your prescription medications, ready for pick-up or delivery.

It makes the task easier. Likewise, prices of prescription drugs may be lower than those you purchase over the counter. It is also possible to order medicines without a prescription, although there are some risks involved. Moreover, there are unregistered online pharmacies, so make sure that you are only ordering from reputable and registered pharmacies.

Maintaining safety while ordering antibiotics online

Every person should take the necessary precautions when choosing the pharmacy to buy antibiotics online or any medicine for that matter. The process can be risky since prescribed medication should be taken under a healthcare professional’s supervision. You are issued a prescription because the medicine is suitable for your condition. The doctor recommends the right dosage, understands the possible side effects, and considers the medication’s interactions with other drugs.

Unless you are familiar with the pharmacy, keep in mind that many unscrupulous individuals and organisations take advantage of people who immediately put their trust in an entity that looks legitimate. Always keep in mind that unregistered online pharmacies may sell you fake, diluted, or out-of-date medicines.

The National Health Service (NHS) warns that ordering prescription medicine such as antibiotics online could be dangerous. But it is still possible, as long as you and the online pharmacy follow the rules. To protect yourself, here are the things you have to know.

  • When your GP writes you a prescription, and you intend to purchase it online, the GP sends it to the pharmacy. Your GP is registered with the Electronic Prescription Service (EPS), so they can either give you a copy of the prescription with a barcode or send the electronic order to your nominated pharmacy. The pharmacy will only dispense the medication after receiving a valid prescription from your GP’s office. After filling it up, the pharmacy sends the prescription for payment through the Pricing Authority. Your medicine will be delivered to you.
  • Some registered websites have prescriber services. You can use their service for online consultation. The process for filling up the prescription is the same as above.

Check the directory of legitimate online pharmacies

If you do not have a particular online pharmacy in mind, another thing you can do to safeguard yourself is to look at the list of registered online pharmacies. The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has an internet pharmacy logo scheme. You can check out the website that carries their official logo, to make sure that you are dealing with a legitimate pharmacy that sells to online customers. It is your assurance that you are buying genuine and safe medicines.

All pharmacies in the UK, including those that sell online, must be a registered member of the GPhC. However, the use of the organisation’s internet pharmacy logo is voluntary.

However, there is another safeguard. The country mandates that anyone selling medicines through a website must register with the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The members have to display the Distance Selling logo on every page of their website. The logo indicates to the public that the website sells medicines legally. The logo is linked to the MHRA’s membership directory, so clicking it will reveal if the site is legitimate. Membership to MHRA is a legal requirement across Europe. It applies to all medicine and medical device retailers.

With so many websites offering cheaper medicines, see to it that you avoid health and legal issues. Patronise registered online pharmacies and check official membership directories of the MHRA and GPhC.